Firebirds Transport Maj. General George Carver on Inspection Tour



Second from left is Major General James G. Jensen, Commander of the Alaskan Air Command.  Next, on right, is Maj. Gen. George A. Carver, Commanding General of United States Army, Alaska.  Firebird crewmembers, kneeling, from left to right are Gary Lattin (aircraft commander), Nolan Bailey (co-pilot), Life N.“Lin” Dove (navigator), Frank Termin (flight engineer), and Hubert Smiley (loadmaster).



Back in the mid-1960's, I had the pleasure of serving on a crew that flew Major General George Allen Carver, Commanding General of the United States Army, Alaska, and his staff, around Alaska on an inspection tour of various military installations. 

On this tour we transported General Carver to several different Alaskan sites throughout the day.  His final stop was to be Nome, Alaska, where he would remain overnight (RON).  It was dark, as in usual in Alaska's winter months, and the weather was miserable.  In fact, it was snowing and the C-130 was icing up as we approached Nome.  But, we were determined to deliver the General as had been promised at Elmendorf.

Upon arrival at Nome, the General and his staff disembarked, and we asked if we could go back to Elmendorf for the night.  We were unsure of lodging and asked to return early the next day to take them back.  This was approved, but before we could take off the C-130 had so much ice on the wings that we had to spend the night in "beautiful downtown" Nome.  The General, and staff, had no knowledge of this.  We were lucky campers, found a small hotel, and checked in.

In a short time we walked down the street to a local restaurant to eat.  The restaurant and bar was nice, but it was really dark inside.  We sat down and began to look around.  When our eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed a group of people sitting at a table across from us, and recognized some of them as being members of the General's staff.  So, the aircraft commander, Gary Lattin, sent me over to let them know that the severe weather had forced us to stay in Nome overnight. 

I casually sauntered over and said something like, "Hey, just wanted to let you know that the weather kept us from leaving, and that we have to spend the night in Nome. Please let us know if there are any changes."   A deep voice said, from the darkness at the other end of the table, "That's fine.  Did you find a room?  Just let me know if the crew needs anything.  We will take care of it."   Whew, my heart instantly stopped.  It was the General, and I had been somewhat "disrespectful."   I straightened up, got my act together, and said, "Everything is just fine, Sir. Thanks for asking." 

To me, the Army Generals were much more thoughtful of the "troops" than many our USAF Generals.  General Carver’s first thought was our welfare--the troops.  I've never forgotten this man, and his regard for those that had the pleasure of serving him.  (Former Firebird pilot Nolan Bailey)





Alaskan Defenders


"Alaskan defenders are depicted on the World War I poster which was presented Saturday evening (February 19, 1966) to Maj. Gen. George A. Carver (right) commanding general of United States Army, Alaska, by Brigadier General William S. Elmore, Adjutant General of Alaska. The award was made in appreciation of General Carver's close support of the Alaska National Guard."


Photograph courtesy of the University of Alaska , and used with their permission.